A handful of lucky African journalists were invited to take part in a LaLiga presentation and then a quick question-answer session with Gaizka Mendieta last week.
The ex-Spain, Valencia, Lazio, Barcelona and Middlesbrough midfielder currently serves as a LaLiga ambassador although the 46-year-old is based in London. During the session, he fielded questions ranging from anything and everything related to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as a few about his illustrious playing career. Here's our question, transcribed for your reading pleasure.
🎤 James Freemantle (Futaa)
Hey Gaizka. I was thinking back on your career and the fact that you starred alongside some incredible players - the likes of Roberto Ayala, Pablo Aimar, Andrés Iniesta, Xavi, Luis Enrique, Pep Guardiola, Romário, Juan Román Riquelme & Alessandro Nesta during spells at Valencia, Lazio and Barcelona. After your move to Middlesbrough, you won the 2004 League Cup final against Bolton. Where would that night rank in terms of the biggest moments in your career, considering that it's the first and only piece of major silverware that the team has won?
🎙 Gaizka Mendieta
Well definitely one of the biggest, because it was my first season playing for Boro. A lot of people were asking themselves what I was doing at Boro after Barça, Valencia & Lazio. That first season was very important to win a trophy, also for myself and of course for the club, that was the reason I went there, to win trophies, and I'm proud to be part of a historic moment for the club.
The team we had was incredible. Not only Juninho, but we also had brilliant players that played amazing football. That was another reason I joined, I knew about the project when I spoke to the club. They gave me a list of players that they were approaching and, of course, it was great - Zenden, Boateng, Doriva, Massimo Maccarone - we had incredible players in that team and that's why it was so successful.
Speaking of quality players, check out Mendieta's best teammates XI that he named back in 2018.
🎥 As Valencia host Levante at the Mestalla, we go back to 2018 when we caught up with club legend Gaizka Mendieta.— bet365 (@bet365) June 12, 2020
⚽️ The former midfielder reveals the best XI he played with.
18+ | Gamble Responsibly pic.twitter.com/DlXCQJCWXd
Gaizka Mendieta was a versatile, technically-gifted & hardworking player who slotted into numerous positions for club and country. He earned 40 caps for Spain and appeared in consecutive Champions League finals in 2000 and then 2001, ending up on the losing side for Valencia on both occasions.
Mendieta's old club Valencia travels to the Bernabeu tomorrow night to face Real Madrid.
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